General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect in May 2018. The regulation focuses on providing data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and all individuals whose data is processed by an EU controller (regardless of their location). It also includes special protections for children’s data.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation defines ‘personal data’ as:
“any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in
particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.
You have the right to:
- be informed about the collection and use of your personal data;
- object to the processing of your personal data for marketing purposes or on grounds relating to your particular situation;
- obtain access to a copy of your personal data;
- ask for incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete personal data to be corrected;
- request that personal data be erased when it’s no longer needed or if processing it is unlawful;
- receive your personal data in a machine-readable format and send it to another controller (‘data portability’);
- request the processing of your personal data is stopped.
These rights apply across the EU, regardless of where the data is processed and where the company is established. These rights also apply when you buy goods and services from non-EU companies operating in the EU.
You have a right to ask a company or organisation as to whether or not it holds any personal data which concerns you.
If they do have any personal data of yours, then you also have the right to access a copy it free of charge. You are also entitled to get any relevant additional information (such as their reason for processing your personal data, the categories of personal data used, etc.).
If you want to find out what a company or organisation knows about you, you need to make a Subject Access Request (SAR).
A SAR can be made to any person working at the desired company or organisation. A SAR can be done either verbally or in writing – this even means you could request your personal data through social media, although email is the most common format.
As well as the information that’s asked for, an organisation has to provide details of why it was processing the personal information, how the information is being used, and how long it is due to be kept for.
Children benefit special protection with regard to processing their data for marketing. This is because young users may be less aware of the risks, consequences and safeguards concerned with marketing.
The GDPR sets the age of consent at 16, but individual member states may lower this as far as 13. A child below the age of consent cannot provide consent for themselves. When consent is the lawful basis for processing a child’s data reasonable efforts to verify that the person giving consent is old enough to do so, are required. Online services must obtain consent from the holder of parental responsibility for the child.
Regulators have the ability to fine businesses who don’t correctly comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations.
For instance, if a company or organisation doesn’t process an individual’s data in the correct way, they can be fined. Similarly, if there’s a security breach, the company or organisation can be fined.
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Words: Demi Whitnell
The principles of consent do not only apply to sexual acts but any intimate act which involves an individual’s personal space.
Sexual consent means actively agreeing to engage in sexual activity. Before being sexual with someone, you need to know that they also wish to become sexual with you. Consent is about setting your own personal boundaries but also respecting and understanding the boundaries of your partner/s.
Without consent, any sexual activity is sexual assault or rape.
F- Freely given
Consent cannot be given if the individual is under pressure, being manipulated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent is a choice and if an individual is swayed by an outside factor, then they do not have full autonomy over their decision.
Consent is fluid. This means that just because an individual has consented to a sexual act in a previous engagement does not mean that they wish to engage in that act every time. Consent must be asked for before every single sexual encounter, even with a long-term partner.
Additionally, even with consent, an individual can stop sexual engagement at any moment. Just because the individual has consented to engage in a sexual act does not mean they must follow through with it if they feel uncomfortable or wish to stop – they are entitled to stop the scene whenever they wish.
An individual can only consent if they know the full story of what they are engaging in and if both individuals do exactly what they have agreed upon. If someone says that they will use a condom during penetrative sex but decide not to or to remove it during the scene, there isn’t full consent.
When engaging in sex, pleasure is at the core. You and your partner/s must be enjoying the acts that you are engaging in. Only do stuff you WANT to do; don’t feel you have to do the things that you feel you’re expected to do.
Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex). Verbal consent uses words to confirm your agreement to a sexual act, this means that there are no elements that are assumed or implied.
Implied consent is an agreement through actions or body language. This type of consent can be dangerous, however, as body language differs from person to person, you may misread someone’s body language or even give off the impression that you wish to engage with someone sexually when you do not. Therefore, it is recommended to also use verbal consent. It is also good to discuss with your partner/s how they feel about implied consent and how they use their body to communicate consent in a sexual interaction.
Contractual consent involves a written contract, outlining sexual preferences of all parties involved and states the soft and hard-limits of each individual. You will see contractual consent used predominantly in BDSM scenes or partnerships mainly because the sexual acts are of a more hard-core level and can have safety issues. The only issue with contractual consent is that the individual takes this one formula agreement as coverage for ALL encounters. As stated previously, it is important to note that an individual can opt out at any time, even with a written document, be sure to revisit these contracts regularly to ensure all parties are still on the same page or to even add new activities.
The age of sexual consent is how old an individual has to be in order to be considered legally capable of consenting to sex. The age of consent to any form of sexual activity differs from country to country.
Currently, the age ranges from 14 to 18 with the majority of countries ranging between 14 and 16. In the UK the age of sexual consent is 16. In the US, the age of sexual consent is set on a state-by-state basis, ranging from 16 to 18.
Keeping your Vagina Clean
Your vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions (discharge). You should, however, wash the area around your vagina gently every day. Avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in your vagina and can cause irritation. Instead use plain, unperfumed soaps.
Keeping your Penis Clean
Gently wash the penis with warm water each day when you’re having a shower or bath. If you have a foreskin, pull it back gently and wash underneath. If you don’t wash underneath the foreskin correctly, smegma, a natural lubricant, may start to build up. Smegma is a breeding ground for bacteria and can lead to irritation. It is also important to clean the base of your penis and your testicles as this is where sweat accumulates.
There are a variety of condoms made from different materials such as latex and plastic which includes polyurethane and polyisoprene. If you are engaging in a scene with several partners, make sure to use a new condom with each individual.
Using a condom does not work as a form of protection unless used correctly. You only need to use one condom at a time. If you layer condoms on top of one another the friction will, in fact, break the condom and deem them ineffective.
Open the condom gently, checking it over for tears or unusual bumps before using. Pinch the reservoir tip of the condom before rolling over the penis, this leaves space to collect the semen and reduces the chances of the condom breaking under pressure. The condom should be rolled down to the base of the penis, covering the entire member. Make sure that the condom base ring is secured at the base of the penis to prevent fluids sliding out from the bottom and coming into contact with your partner.
Something that is significantly forgotten about during most sexual encounters is the importance of lube. Lube cuts down the amount of friction on a condom and prevents the chance of it breaking, furthermore, it allows easy access which can be beneficial if an individual is tight, decreasing pain.
The inside condom is used by those with a vagina. Like with outside condoms, open the condom gently, checking it over for tears or unusual bumps before using. Unlike the male/ outside condom, the inside condom has two rings. One ring is closed and the other is open, this allows the condom to protect whatever is being inserted into the vagina from the bodily fluids secreted.
Again, the use of lube is key. When inserting the inside condom, finding the best position for you is important. Push the closed, pinched ring as far back inside you as possible (much like if you are inserting a tampon), after it is pushed as far back as possible, allow the open ring of the condom to hang outside of your vaginal opening.
Dams, also known as dental dams are a barrier protection for oral sex. When using a dam, remove from the packaging and check for any tears whilst also ensuring that it is large enough to cover the body part you wish to use it upon. Place the dam over the body part and keep it in place by either holding the dam yourself or asking your partner to. Do not switch sides during use and make sure to throw away once the act has been completed.
Disposable (single use) gloves are a thin latex rubber or nitrile covering for the hand that can be used as a form of protection during sex. Using a helps to reduce the risk of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and is also a preferred option for those with long fingernails.
Contraception is free for most individuals in the UK and there are 15 different methods to choose from. What is most important when finding the right method for you is to know your own body and to be aware of the risk. Most contraception cannot protect you from catching or passing an STI but rather protects you from getting pregnant. Condoms are the only method to protect you from both.
The Combined Pill
The combined pill is often just called ‘the pill’ and is an oral method of contraception being over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. You take 1 pill every day for 21 days, then you stop for 7 which is when you will have your period and then continue the cycle again. For these pills, they must be taken at the same time every day otherwise the cause of pregnancy is increased. The minor side effects of the combined pill include mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches whilst the higher risk include, blood clots and cervical cancer. Under the combined pill umbrella are three different types; monophasic 21-day pills, phasic 21-day pills and every day ED pills.
The contraceptive Diaphragm or Cap
The contraceptive diaphragm or cap is a circular dome made of silicone which is inserted into the vagina, it covers the cervix so sperm cannot get to the womb. The cap is 92-96% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly, your doctor will ensure that you receive the right size cup for you. If you lose more than 3kg in weight have a baby or a miscarriage/abortion, you will need to be refitted with a new cap. The caps need to be left in place for 6 hours after sex to allow the spermicide to work. Again, this does not protect you from STIs but means that you can have full control of when you insert and use your contraception.
The implant is a small flexible plastic rod that’s placed under the skin in the upper arm by a doctor and it releases the hormone progestogen into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. This method lasts for 3 years meaning it is perhaps the easiest to use. Much like the pill, it is 99% effective and can be removed at any time with your natural fertility returning to normal pretty quickly. When first inserted, it may cause some bruising, tenderness and swelling around the implant and can cause periods to become irregular, lighter, heavier and longer or in some cases, stop completely. Similarly, to the pill, some medicines may make the implant less effective so be sure to ask your doctor before taking any new medications.
The injection releases the hormone progestogen into the bloodstream in a similar way to the implant. The injection most commonly lasts for 13 weeks and is 99% effective. Unlike the implant, it does not affect other medicines. The downsides of the injection are that the individual must be organised and update their dab before the last expires, your period may become irregular, heavier, shorter, lighter or even stop altogether, it can take up to 1 year for your fertility to return to normal. Again, it does not protect against STIs.
The patch is a small sticky patch that releases hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy and is more than 99% effective. Each patch lasts one week and you must change it every week for three weeks until you have your period, in which you do not use a patch. Luckily, it does not come off in the water and can control painful and heavy period flows. Furthermore, it may protect against ovarian, womb and bowel cancer.
The IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device placed inside your womb by a doctor and can prevent pregnancy for between 5 and 10 years. It is fast-acting and long-lasting, being able to be inserted at any time during your menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, there is a risk that your body may reject the IUD and it can be uncomfortable to put in. The IUS is similar, however, it only lasts 3 to 5 years.
The Vaginal Ring
The vaginal ring is a small soft, plastic ring that is placed inside your vagina which releases continuous doses of hormones to prevent pregnancy. The ring is more than 99% effective, last for a month and does not interfere with sex. There are few risks with the vaginal ring, however, those include a small risk of blood clotting, irregular periods and it can actually make its way out of your vagina, however you can place it back once rinsed with hot water.
The only-pill prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix and needs to be taken every day. The only-pill is 92% effective and has similar risks as the combined pill. The only difference is that you continuously take the pill and do not take a break for your period.
Any kind of kissing, massage or touching that happens before intercourse. It can help to get people aroused and can make sex more enjoyable.
Masturbation means using your hands to stimulate your genitals or your partner’s genitals. Many people masturbate on their own – it’s a good way to find out what you do and don’t like and where you like to be touched.
Partners can masturbate each other in turn or at the same time (mutual masturbation) or masturbate themselves while the other person watches.
When using your hands and fingers to stimulate parts of the body such as the penis, vagina, mouth, nipple, vulva and anus, there are still safety precautions you need to take. Lube can help to prevent cuts or pain during foreplay.
Masturbation does not cause any harm, mentally or physically, even if you do it often however, your genitals may feel sore or inflamed. The transmission of STIs is still a risk when masturbating with a partner so the use of barrier methods are highly recommended. Even though masturbation has no health risks, the stigma of self-pleasure is prevalent and it is something that relationship and sex education (RSE) does not educate effectively. From internalized misogyny to faith and social views, masturbation is often still considered a dirty act.
Non- Penetrative sex
Sex that does not involve penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus.
Using the mouth and tongue to stimulate your partner’s genital area. While you can’t get pregnant by having oral sex, sexually transmitted infections can be passed on in this way.
Penetrative sex, vagina and anus
Penetrative sex or sexual intercourse is the act of inserting a body part or toy into an individual’s vagina or anus. It is always recommended to use a form of protection when engaging in penetrative sex, to protect you both against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
Using toys during sex is often a taboo topic. It is not a part of the UK Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum.
Using toys during sex (be it solo and with a partner), however, can certainly increase the enjoyment factor. There is a plethora of toys available on the market, ranging from toys such as vibrators which are used on the vulva and vagina, to cock rings, anal plugs, dildos and beads. Toys are used to enhance the scene and provide different stimulations for different body parts.
Using a form of protection on a toy which is being used for penetration is highly recommended.
Cleaning Sex Toys
Toys that have been exposed to bodily fluids cannot be shared and must be cleaned correctly. Sex toy cleaners are available to purchase online, however, typically soap and water can be used to clean the toy. It is best to check the instructions manual on how to properly clean your toys.
Sex toys for those with a penis are usually disregarded in the sex toy community purely because there is less representation for those on social media. However, sex toys for those with a penis have come a long way and there is such a vast variety now. From male masturbators which replicate the motion of a hand-job to vibrators and cock rings, there are a variety of toys for different experiences.
UK Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) in schools tends to focus solely on cisgender individuals. Body partners are typically identified as male or female, which can often be inaccurate & fail to recognise other genders. When educating on sex using nongendered terms can lead to more effective discussions, as it is clearer and more inclusive. Most RSE educators argue that the language surrounding sex needs to be worked on, and that sexual language should be inclusive and applicable to everyone.
In terms of protection, trans and non-binary individuals should use the same methods; outside condom, inside condom, gloves and dam. An LGBTQ individual is not at higher risk of STI transmission, however, they are at higher endangering themselves during sexual activities due to a lack of education which includes them. It is important that any and every individual can access sexual information about how to obtain pleasure, their sexual functioning, sexual health, risks and kinks.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products.
Recycling collection services vary across the country. There are many factors that influence these services. For instance, whether the area is urban or rural, the type of housing you live in and the local facilities available to process your recycling.
Three Main Recycling Scheme Types:
Kerbside Sort Scheme
Recyclables are sorted into their respective materials on the lorry at the kerbside.
Paper and card are collected in one compartment and the containers (cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles and jars) are collected in another compartment.
Collections where all your recyclables are put into one compartment on the lorry. They are then taken to a Materials Recovery Facility where they are sorted.
What happens at a recycling centre varies slightly depending on how your recycling is collected.
After it is collected by your local council, it is taken to a nearby Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). At the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), all recyclables are sorted and separated into different types of materials. This is done by hand, machine, or a combination of the two.
The machinery, processes and materials vary from facility to facility; however, the general basis of the process is as follows:
- The recycling bin, box or sack is emptied into the collection vehicle.
- After gathering all the recyclables from the local area, the collection vehicle takes it to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF), where it is loaded onto conveyors.
- The sorting process begins with the removal of incorrect items such as crisp packets and plastics bags. This is the biggest problem when it comes to sorting recyclables as it has to be done by hand. If these items are missed it can clog or damage the machinery and other equipment.
- Vibrating machines separate cardboard and paper from the mix. The different types of paper are sorted by hand and then baled.
- The remaining recyclables continue on another conveyor where steel cans are removed using magnets. A special kind of magnet called an eddy current is used to sort aluminium cans.
- Different types of plastic are identified and separated using optical scanners.
- Glass, if collected in your local area, is the final material left on the conveyor, which is dropped into a large container.
- Once separated they are taken for reprocessing at specialist factories.
The recycling rate:
44.7% in England
47.7% in Northern Ireland,
42.8% in Scotland,
54.1% in Wales.
Brexit refers to the withdrawal or exit of Britain from the European Union.
British + Exit = Brexit
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 European countries. Each country pays to be a part of the union and in return they gain access to certain ways of working together. This includes being part of a “single market”, which means that goods can move between member countries without any checks or extra charges. It also allows free movement of people, meaning citizens of EU countries may live and work freely in whichever EU country they choose.
All Member States remain sovereign and independent states, but they pool some of their ‘sovereignty’ in areas where it could be beneficial to work together. In practice, this means that the Member States delegate some of their decision-making powers to the shared institutions they have created so that decisions on specific matters of common interest can be made democratically at EU level.
The EU was created after the Second World War. It was thought that if countries traded with one another and became economically interdependent, they would be less likely to conflict.
The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum –commonly referred to as the EU referendum or the Brexit referendum –took place on 23 June 2016. It asked the UK population whether the country should remain a member of, or leave, the European Union (EU).
More than 30 million people voted, with the Leave campaign winning by 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent.
David Cameron, the former leader of the Conservative party promised a referendum should his party win the general election in 2015. This promise arose during a period when the Conservative party were under pressure from Eurosceptics and were losing votes to the right-wing populist political party UKIP.
When the Conservative party won the general election in 2015, they activated a manifesto pledge to hold an in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Essentially, the referendum revolved around two central issues: the cost of being a member of the EU, and the power and control the EU holds over the UK. While the UK is a sovereign state, (meaning it makes its own laws and rules), the UK shares some of their ‘sovereignty’ with the EU in areas where it could be beneficial to work together.
The Leave campaign advised that this sharing had gone too far, and it was no longer an ideal or beneficial relationship. The Remain campaign, on the other hand, believed it to be beneficial to continue to be a part of the EU.
Vote Leave was the official campaigning organisation that supported a Leave vote in the 2016 referendum. Other non-official campaigns included Leave.EU and Grassroots Out.
- Britain will regain £350 million a week (to spend on NHS and science research)
- EU regulations are highly damaging to our economy, costing small businesses millions every week.
- The UK has no power to make free trade deals with fast-growing economies like India and China – unlike no-EU Iceland and Switzerland.
- A quarter of a million EU immigrants come to the UK every year, which puts a big strain on public services like the NHS and schools.
- The EU’s migrant crisis is out of control.
- Lack of control over vital policies. (Over half of the UK laws are made by unelected EU bureaucrats in Brussels who the UK never voted for).
- The European Court will be in charge of the UK’s borders, immigration, asylum and intelligence services.
- The EU court means the UK cannot stop violent convicted criminals from coming from Europe to the UK.
- Taking back control over our borders.
Britain Stronger in Europe was the official campaigning organisation that supported the Remain vote.
- The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner. Remaining retains access to the Single Market.
- Being inside the EU also makes it more attractive for companies to invest in the UK, meaning more jobs.
- Brexit would cause an economic shock and growth would be slower. (Chancellor George Osborne argued that a Leave vote would cause an “immediate and profound” economic shock, with UK economic growth falling 3.6%.)
- The UK is not part of the EU’s border-free zone – The UK controls its borders (The UK has the right to check everyone, including EU nationals, arriving from continental Europe.
- Immigrants, especially those from the EU, pay more in taxes than they take out.
- The Government has negotiated a deal which means that in the future, new EU migrants will not have full access to certain benefits until they have worked in the UK for up to four years.
- Only a minority of UK laws derive from the EU.
- Britain retains a veto in many important areas.
- Cameron’s EU deal allows national parliaments to block legislation.
- Some sharing of sovereignty is crucial to enable fair trade across Europe.
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over who are resident in the UK or Gibraltar were eligible to vote. UK citizens resident overseas were also eligible to vote, provided they were registered to vote at a UK address in the last 15 years.
Residents of the Crown Dependencies (which are not part of the United Kingdom), namely the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, even if they were British citizens, were excluded from the referendum unless they were also previous residents of the United Kingdom (that is: England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is a short paragraph which sets out the steps a country needs to go through to withdraw from its treaty obligations.
In terms of Brexit, only the UK government could trigger Article 50; other EU states could not force them.
Article 50 was triggered by former Prime Minister Theresa May at the end of March 2017.
The Brexit transition is the period agreed in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement which gives time for both the UK and EU to agree their future relationship. The UK has no say in the making of new EU laws during the transition but will have to follow all EU rules, including freedom of movement.
The transition is due to last until 31 December 2020.
(The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement allowed the UK–EU Joint Committee to extend the transition period by up to two years if it signed off on the length of any extension before 1 July 2020. However, no extension of the transition period was made. EU lawyers say that now this window has been missed, EU law makes it very difficult to agree to any extension).
At the end of the transition period, the UK’s relationship with the EU will be determined by the new agreements they have negotiated.
The EU and the UK have begun negotiating their future relationship. Like any negotiation, there will be agreements and disagreements over the structure of the UK and the EU’s new relationship. Also making the situation more challenging is the fact that this is the first time the EU has negotiated an international agreement with a state after it has withdrawn from the EU through Article 50.
The condensed timetable for the negotiations, which must be concluded before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, means that both the UK and the EU are under political pressure to find legal compromises quickly.